Daily Archives: July 5, 2012

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Christofias slams EU fiscal policies

 

PRESIDENT Demetris Christofias gave a rousing speech about ‘market lawlessness’ and a ‘fairer society’ to the European Parliament yesterday, marred only by an attack from a British MEP who slammed Cyprus over crooked lawyers and property developers.

Before the incident, during his address in which he outlined the Cyprus presidency’s priorities,  Christofias expressed his dissatisfaction at the EU’s policies in dealing with the financial crisis.

 “We should have the strength to self-criticise, on a national but also a European level, for the possible political inaction or the weaknesses of the policies that were implemented in Europe over the past two decades,” said Christofias. 

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Our view: Troika's arrival could mean jig is up for CoLA

 

ONE OF the big union federations SEK yesterday issued a statement, declaring its opposition to “tough austerity” and that the workers “could not again provide the easy solution”. It concluded that “the competitiveness of the economy will not be strengthened only by lowering of the wages and benefits of the working class,” but failed to mention other ways of improving competitiveness.

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'I am very proud of who and what I am', President tells MEPs

PRESIDENT Demetris Christofias yesterday felt the need to defend his left-wing roots, after being referred to as a communist president in a number of statements by MEPs at the European Parliament.

Speaking after MEPs had their say following his speech on Cyprus’ priorities as EU president, Christofias said the EU’s austerity measures to deal with the economic crisis had clearly not worked. So he suggested “marrying fiscal discipline with growth and social cohesion”.

He said the people of the EU could no longer see a better future ahead of them, which should be of great concern.

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A tightrope between austerity and reform

TROIKA officials, in Cyprus on a fact-finding mission ahead of bailout negotiations, were told yesterday to be particularly careful when it came to the island’s long-standing social dialogue between state, unions and employers.

Cyprus has to negotiate a tightrope of possible austerity or reform unlikely to go down well in a country where unions are strong and where the government is facing a general election in seven months.

The troika were gently reminded of that yesterday by Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly. “We have highlighted the need that they be particularly careful concerning issues of social and political cohesion,” Shiarly said.

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CoLA is anachronistic and socially unjust

EMPLOYERS yesterday reaffirmed their demand for wage indexation to be scrapped, as it was a dated and socially unjust institution, but at this stage they would settle with an overhaul.

KEVE and OEV representatives met with troika delegates with the discussion focusing on wage indexation or CoLA, which employers believe restricts the economy’s competitiveness.

“They asked what our position is on CoLA and we replied that at some stage it must be scrapped because it raises the public sector cost but also that of private enterprise and it restricts competitiveness,” OEV chairman Filios Zachariades said.

His counterpart at KEVE echoed the sentiment, describing CoLA as an “anachronistic and socially unjust institution.”

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Treasury bills worth €250m

THE FINANCE Ministry yesterday announced an agreement with institutional investors in the domestic market to sell €250 million worth of treasury bills on July 12. The treasury bills will be issued through private placement and will have a three-month duration while the rate of interest on the bills will be announced after their issuance.  According to the ministry, the €250 million will be used to meet the refinancing needs of the state. 

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'Fantastic job' saving Akamas

IT WAS praise all round for the fire services and the forestry department yesterday for the handling of three separate fires, which threatened the Akamas and nearby villages on Tuesday.

The largest blaze which started at 9am on Tuesday morning destroyed over two square kilometres of land near Neo Chorio.

Andreas Constantinou the secretary of the Paphos Green party said they visited the area on Tuesday. “It was a miracle how the fire was brought under control so fast,” he said.

Constantinou along with other members of the Green party joined in the operation to extinguish the blaze alongside the fire department, the forestry department, civil defence and locals.

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Larnaca fire caused by sparks from generator

STRONG WINDS helped spread a fire in the Larnaca district yesterday after sparks flew off a generator, burning half a kilometre of dry grass and wild vegetation. 

The raging fire started in one area but was moved to another with the help of the generator’s owner who literally transported the fire using his car, which then spread like… wild fire. 

The fire broke out at around 2pm between the villages of Alethriko and Alaminos in the Ayios Theodoros area when a local resident made use of a generator to water the trees in his field. 

For reasons unknown, sparks flew off the generator, and caught on to dry grass, starting the fire.  

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